José Mourinho calls rumours of Paul Pogba rift ‘lies’

Manchester United manager: ‘You can call it speculation, I would call it a lot of lies’

José Mourinho has called rumours of a rift with Paul Pogba ‘lies’. Photograph: Lindsey Parnaby/AFP

José Mourinho has called rumours of a rift with Paul Pogba ‘lies’. Photograph: Lindsey Parnaby/AFP

 

José Mourinho has denied his relationship with Paul Pogba has broken down and described speculation that the midfielder might want to leave the club as “a lot of lies”.

Pogba received a barrage of criticism after his below-par performance at Newcastle last Sunday, with the former Manchester United player Paul Ince going so far as to suggest the France international believes he might have made a mistake in rejoining the club.

“You can call it speculation, I would call it a lot of lies,” Mourinho said. “Paul accepts he has not been playing well in the last few matches, but that is all. It is a big lie that we don’t communicate, that we don’t agree about his best position and that we don’t have a good relationship.

“It is my problem that he is not playing well at the moment, but he will play in the FA Cup against Huddersfield, and that is the end of the story. We don’t fight every day and we don’t want to sell. I don’t want to be nasty to the punditry industry in this country – it must be the biggest in the world and they are being paid millions – but it is ridiculous to talk about Paul being played out of position.

“Against Newcastle Paul played in midfield, we had a six [Nemanja Matic]and two eights [Jesse Lingard and Pogba], with Paul on the left hand side. If you ask Paul what is his preferred formation it is 4-3-3. If you ask him where he likes to play in that formation it is eight, on the left. That is exactly what he was doing against Newcastle.”

Pogba still managed to be outplayed by Jonjo Shelvey and Mo Diamé at Newcastle, though Mourinho believes every player is entitled to a lapse of form every now and then, even if it impacts on the team’s performance. “Paul had a big injury this season, he almost needed surgery,” the United manager said. “He was playing phenomenally before that, and in this moment he is not playing well. Period. The team needs him at a good level. To be at its best any team needs its top players to be performing.”

(Guardian service)

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